Boating Terms You Should Know

Boating Terms You Should Know

Want to see Charleston from a new perspective? Climb aboard the Schooner Pride to learn about the Holy City’s rich history while you take a tour around the Charleston Harbor. However, prior to setting sail, you should know a few basic boating terms for safety.


Possibly the easiest term to remember, bow refers to the front of the ship. Anything near the front of the boat is referred to as being “forward.”


In contrast to bow, stern refers to the back of the boat. Anything toward the back of the ship is referred to as “aft” or “astern.”


The port refers to the left side of the boat when facing towards the bow.


Opposite of port, starboard refers to the right side of the ship when facing forward.


Leeward or “lee” means direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing.


Windward refers to the direction in which the wind is currently blowing. This term is important to know because sailboats move with the wind.


This is a pole that runs horizontally along the bottom of the sail. The boom helps the boat move forwards or backward, depending on how it is angled toward the wind.


The rudder is a flat piece of wood, fiberglass, or metal that steers the boat. It’s located below the stern. When the helmsman (pilot) steers the ship via use of the wheel, he is changing the angle of the rudder.

Tacking / Coming about

This is a sailing maneuver that refers to turning the bow towards the wind, so the direction of the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other.


Another turning maneuver, jibing refers to turning the stern so it passes through the wind, the wind then changes from one side of the boat to the other. Jibing is the opposite of tacking and is less common.

Interested in learning more sailing terminology? Contact Charleston Harbor Tours today and book a tour aboard the Carolina Belle, Carolina Queen, or Schooner Pride. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing in the sun with friends and family when you choose the dolphin tour or one of our other daily sails.

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